12 December 2010

My Garden in December

The snow has stopped falling and the brilliant blue sky is washed clean.  Enormous mounds of snow line the streets, proof of our industrious snow-blowing and shoveling.  My garden is buried beneath the snow, the last of the brussels sprouts, beets, and leeks frozen 'til spring.
My wife and I recently spent two weeks in Turkey and Greece, our first vacation in the eastern Mediterranean.  We loved the hamsi in Istanbul, the pomegranate syrup in Sirinci, Turkey, and the kebaps in Athens.  But, what really struck me was a simple breakfast treat at our hotel in Athens, a small, clear glass filled with yogurt, honey, and pistachios. I was reminded that all food, when made with good ingredients, nourishes and sustains.  The quality of the ingredients was outstanding, and the honey especially captured the intensity of the dry, fragrant shrublands known in the Mediterranean as garrigue.  Just as great wine comes from stressed vines, it seems that great honey also comes from the stressed heather, thyme and other plants of the region.  And where do the cows that make such yogurt graze?  The few we saw were wandering  through the same rocky terrain that obviously yielded much (including olive oil) despite its inhospitable appearance. 
Foods that capture and embody the particulars of place leave a lasting memory, and remind us that what we eat is as rich with history and culture as the beautiful sights we travel to see.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said, Patrick. All best to you and yours, for the holidays, and in the New Year~ Brett